April 27, 2014

A museum in Budapest we walked by one evening. There are dozens of museums.

This was not our normal missionary week!  On Easter Monday, a holiday, most businesses were closed so we decided to go see a few places.  We were all over town – on the tram and walking.  At the end of the day, Elder Miller’s Fitbit (that the kids game him for his birthday and he loves it) said we walked 9.25 miles! 

The Hungarian State Opera House, one of the most important historical buildings in the city, dating back 300 years.  The Hungarian National Ballet is also based here.  Tours were not available until late afternoon.We'll go back some other time. 

We had to take a peek in the New York Café – touted as ‘the most beautiful café in the world’ – and connected to the famous Buscolo Hotel.  It would certainly rival the Grand America in SLC or the Waldorf Astoria in NYC.

We headed to City Park to find the statue of George Washington.   In Hungary, you ask?  Some Hungarian leaders, particularly Louis Kossuth, went to America to raise funds for Hungary after the failed revolution for independence in 1848.  In 1902, a movement began in Cleveland, OH to erect a statue to him, the ‘Father of Hungarian Democracy.’  Not sure it ever happened, but later Hungarian-American leaders placed a statue of George Washington, the ‘Father of American Democracy,’ in Budapest as a sign of unity between the two nations.

As it was a holiday, we discovered a  festival in the park.   Once again, we checked out the Hungarian handicrafts and food items.  It wasn’t as big or as crowded as Swiss Days in Midway, but they did have one thing over on Swiss Days – the traffic flow went one direction!

Langos is a Hungarian specialty – a giant scone (or sopapilla) deep fried and then slathered with honey, sour cream and cheese.  Yum. . .yuk-cholesterol  kingdom!  Deep frying and sour cream are big in Hungary.

And this booth is all about oil!   Interesting, you can only buy milk in a one liter carton, but oil is common in gallons!

Here’s a booth probably not to be seen at Swiss Days.  He’s forging tools, knives, etc.

Hungarians love their sweets.

We went for a walk along the river to see Shoes on the Danube.  This memorial honors the Jews who were killed during WW II.  They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away.  These sculptures represent their shoes left behind on the bank.  (They’re bronze but look like real, worn shoes.) There were dozens of jars in which people have lit candles to show their respect.

Tuesday we finished up some details for the BYU Chamber Orchestra concert and submitted three projects:  1) tools for a disabled foundation.  The handyman there repairs and rebuilds everything.  When items can no longer be repaired, he uses the parts to build such things as these carts for the disabled to use for contests, races, fun and developmental exercise. He told us he is retired, and does this because he “has 3 healthy children; and not everyone has healthy children;” 2) developmental and speech games and tools for a communication school for children and adults with speech difficulties, and 3) a breast pump and special needs nursing accessories and kits for mothers who have difficulty nursing, premature babies or those with cleft palates, etc.   All were approved the next day!  
Wednesday we headed to Kaposvár for the rest of the week.  Again, the views on the way were of peaceful farm fields,  valleys and villages.  It sort of reminded us of driving through small towns in Utah, but there was no LDS chapel in each falu (village).

The quiet walking mall of downtown Kaposvár from both directions.

The peaceful, quiet street of our Kaposvár apartment.

The front of our apartment building.  We are on the top floor (96 steps).  When we walk out on the spacious deck, we’re level with the birds!

The next few days were spent cleaning the apartment.  It took a bit of ‘elbow grease’ to whip that baby into shape – especially the bathtub that was full of rust and grime!  The washer had been closed up and was full of mold.  The landlord confirmed that the “rubber was kaput” and he took the soap dispenser away, so hopefully that can be repaired or replaced!  Pictures will come when we move in late May.

We attended District Meeting with the elders, a ‘program’ (discussion) as they visited with a brother who is no longer attending church meetings, and we sort of invited ourselves to the branch president’s wedding at the city hall. He is age 25, a member for only six months.

We came early and thought we would ‘explore’ a bit around the walking mall, but because it was Saturday afternoon everything was closed (common in Hungary – most shops and businesses close around noon) so we watched a few wedding parties gather outside and be ready to go in the hall at their scheduled time.

What a fine, young couple President Balint and Dori made.  They had the largest entourage also.   Here you see him greeting guests. . .

. . .and Dori lining up with her family and friends.   

The wedding ceremony seemed very lovely (it was in Hungarian).  They each took a candle and with it lit another single candle – symbolic of two lives coming together as one.  The woman Justice of the Peace spoke to them about becoming one, kindness, love and family – so the elders told us afterwards.  The JP then toasted them with their witnesses and parents.  They lined up outside and the attendees were able to then greet them and wish them well.   We did not invite ourselves to their reception!

Here is the Branch House – just a small section of a building off the town square; it has a clothing boutique right next to it.  It has been remodeled nicely, is new to the branch, but their sign has not yet arrived.  This is where we attended Sunday meetings, which were being presided over and conducted by the high councilor.  There were 15 adult members in attendance, 6 missionaries (including us), a few children and then a couple, their 3 children and parents visiting from New York and Canada came in a bit late (they had been lost).  The Spirit can be felt even when the words cannot be understood.  It was a sweet meeting and testimonies were shared.  There were 9 sisters in Relief Society, and the young sister who was teaching said this was her first time and she was very nervous.  She spoke some English, so was good to add comments and questions to include me and the sister from Canada.  

Back to Budapest; we are busy this week with projects and are looking forward to a visit this weekend with our area supervisors from Germany.  Our post next week may be a few days late because we will be busy with our supervisors for several days. 


  1. Kaposvar looks like a great place! And what a fun market you found. I'm trying to imagine a scone with honey, sour cream AND cheese. Interesting!

  2. You will be on a level with the birds? Therefore, birdbrains?
    I loved seeing the wedding party.
    The scones would be like gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, perhaps. Why do we love fried foods so much? Allen IV's team won a student Emmy last week for their senior animated film and he also received an internship with Blue Sky - an animation studio in White Plains, NY (Ice Age, Rio, etc) They are working on a Peanut's animated film right now. We will miss those guys, when they leave. Thanks for your blog! mucho hugs....

  3. What a great post. We enjoy racing your blog and following your mission. Great job. We love you. Phil & Liz.

  4. LOVE!!!!!! your blog. Beautiful architecture, wonderful food, and a handsome missionary couple. I absolutely love it. The stairs and 10 miles of walking will have you in tip-top shape. We just returned from a cousins reunion in LA (provodickie.blogspot.com) and next week will be headed to New York with Debby Gibbs to visit Mike and Linda. We will post on our blog from there.

    Keep posting.



  5. Looks like you're seeing some amazing things. I love the memorial of the shoes lining the river.
    Its a good thing you don't have Costco there and have to carry your groceries up 96 stairs!! I love all your pictures on this post. They tell a lot.